On the morning of May 5, 2021, the other tenants of Madison Square Garden, the New York Rangers were labeled to be on the upswing. After three seasons of finishing no higher than 7th in the Metropolitan Division and 6th in the Wild Card, they finished in fifth place, 11 points behind nemesis New York Islanders for the final playoff spot in the 2020-21 season.
But, Rangers owner James Dolan was not satisfied with his team failing to make the playoffs for a fourth straight year. In a move that raised eyebrows, Dolan fired president John Davidson after two seasons and general manager Jeff Gorton after a hair under six years. Dolan replaced those two with Chris Drury, a former Ranger, to both positions. Drury went ahead and fired head coach David Quinn shortly after and replaced him with Gerard Gallant.
Drury would go ahead and immediately get to work, making five trades in less than two weeks.
The Rangers had a new front office and new head coach with a young roster entering this season. How will they manage?
Well, they managed to amass 110 points, good enough for second in the Metropolitan Division and have found themselves in the Eastern Conference Finals after winning series against the Pittsburgh Penguins after being down 3-1 and the Carolina Hurricanes after being down 2-0.
Throughout the playoffs, Madison Square Garden has been 18,000-plus strong, night in and night out.
I’m sure that little nugget will be an added incentive for Dolan. A smart owner would take notice of how much money his team is making with a deep playoff run. Imagine how much money that aforementioned owner could make if he owned two sports teams.
Knicks president Leon Rose is entering his second year while general manager Scott Perry enters year six in the position.
After making the playoffs the year before, the Knicks weren’t close to replicating the same success in Rose’s first full season. Simply put, it was an awful first offseason last year for Knicks president Leon Rose as his acquisition of Evan Fournier and re-signing of Julius Randle and Nerlens Noel did not pan out in the first 82 games.
Leon Rose is going to need an exceptional offseason this year in the draft, free agency and trading. Rumors continue to swirl of the Knicks perhaps trading for a guard, a position where the franchise has continued to swing-and-miss. The Knicks could potentially use their 11th pick in the draft as a chip, but now with the resignation of Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder, New Yorker Donovan Mitchell is reportedly “unsettled, unnerved and wondering what it means for the franchise’s future.”
There is a blueprint in place, and it’s one that has recently been published and put to work at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks are eerily headed down the same path the Rangers went down. The president of the Knicks is headed into year two while the general manager heads into year six with the team. Ask Davidson and Gorton if this sounds familiar.
If the Knicks don’t do anything to move the needle in a positive manner for fans (and most important to Dolan, his wallet), time could be running out on Rose and Perry.